This year’s Conversations in Bioethics topic celebrates one of the issues at the heart of the KIE story: disability. The Institute was founded in 1971 with support from the Rose and Joseph Kennedy Foundation, inspired in large part by the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to advancing the rights of the disabled.
This year’s topic celebrates our Institute’s founding vision of a world where the voices of the powerless are made powerful through thoughtful reflection and theory-driven advocacy, and it dives deep into some of the most complicated and interesting questions in disability ethics today. In an era of ever-growing pharmaceutical enhancement, what counts as intellectually disabled, and why would that matter? How does the way we define disability (and normalcy) impact the just distribution of resources in society? How are foundational concepts in ethics like dignity or autonomy complicated by reflection on the many ways we are disabled and dependent on others in the course of the most “normal” human lifespan?
Inaugurated with the vision and generous support of a Georgetown alumna, Fran Buckley (NHS’87), this marks the fourth year the KIE will carry the tradition forward to a new and pressing issue. At its core, the Conversations series is an annual campus-wide discussion of a crucial bioethics issue. But it is much more than a single event: it joins deep, semester-long student engagement with a critical bioethics topic with visiting experts for a campus-wide experience meant to highlight Georgetown’s commitment to engaged ethics and its internationally-lauded strength in the field of bioethics.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be releasing more information on this year’s topic, student work selections, and panelists. In the meantime, stay up to date with this year’s event and check out the informative and in-depth Georgetown community work on topics from past years.